An Interchange of Encouragement for All
1. What special opportunities do the visits of traveling overseers provide?
1 The apostle Paul wrote to the congregation in Rome: “I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you in order for you to be made firm; or, rather, that there may be an interchange of encouragement among you, by each one through the other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom. 1:11, 12) Modern-day visits of traveling overseers provide similar opportunities for an interchange of encouragement.
2. Why is the circuit overseer’s visit announced in advance?
2 The Congregation: The circuit overseer’s visit is generally announced to the congregation about three months in advance. This allows time for us to adjust our schedule so as to benefit to the full. (Eph. 5:15, 16) If you work secularly, perhaps you will be able to request time off to support field service during the week. Some arrange to auxiliary pioneer during the month of the visit. If you have planned to be away, could you make adjustments in order to be present that week?
3. What may we personally do during the visit to obtain encouragement?
3 A primary purpose of the circuit overseer’s visit is to give personal encouragement and training in the field ministry. Could you ask to work with him or with his wife if he is married? The circuit overseer enjoys working with various publishers, including those who may have less experience or lack a measure of skill in the ministry. All can learn from his presentation and apply any suggestions that he may kindly offer. (1 Cor. 4:16, 17) Inviting him to share a meal with you will open further opportunity for encouraging fellowship. (Heb. 13:2) Since his talks are tailored to the needs of the congregation, listen carefully.
4. How may we encourage our circuit overseer?
4 The Circuit Overseer: The apostle Paul was no different from the brothers he served in that he experienced challenges and anxieties and he appreciated encouragement. (2 Cor. 11:26-28) When the congregation in Rome learned that Paul, now a prisoner, was finally coming there, some traveled to the Marketplace of Appius to meet him—a distance of 46 miles [74 km]! “Upon catching sight of them, Paul thanked God and took courage.” (Acts 28:15) You can likewise encourage your circuit overseer. Show him “double honor” by your enthusiastic support of his visit. (1 Tim. 5:17) Express and demonstrate your sincere appreciation for his efforts in your behalf. He and his wife will rejoice as they observe your faith, love, and endurance.—2 Thess. 1:3, 4.
5. Why do all of us need encouragement today?
5 In these “critical times hard to deal with,” who among us does not need encouragement? (2 Tim. 3:1) Decide now to share fully in the special week of activity with the circuit overseer. All of us—traveling overseers and publishers alike—can participate in a joyful interchange of encouragement. In this way we will also “keep comforting one another and building one another up.”—1 Thess. 5:11.